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Elderly Dying Of Thirst In Care Homes

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More than 1,000 care home residents have died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration over the past decade, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Elderly and vulnerable patients were left without enough water despite being under the supervision of trained staff in homes in England and Wales.

The Coalition has failed to improve the situation, with more people dying while dehydrated last year than when David Cameron took office, although the total was lower than the 2006 peak.

Charities called for an urgent overhaul in social care, saying that the general public would be outraged if animals were treated in the same way.

“How can we call ourselves civilised when people are left to starve or die of thirst? … It is an utter disgrace that they are ever left without the most basic care,” said Dr Alison Cook, a director at the Alzheimer’s Society.

This is a sickening story. Anyone have elderly relatives in such places?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10487305/More-than-a-thousand-care-home-residents-die-thirsty.html

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Couldn't quite believe it when I heard it on the radio this morning; there was also a figure for people who'd starved to death in "care" homes.

It's one of those stories where you know you don't want to hear the details.

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This is a sickening story. Anyone have elderly relatives in such places?

No but if I did I'd be checking their Will just in case.

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Doesn't it have a name, something like the Liverpool pathway?

It is not uncommon for people in later stage dementia to start refusing food and drink. In such cases the only remedy is hospital and drips - and people with dementia are apt to pull out drips because they can't remember what they are for, or that they should leave them alone.

An aunt of mine, nearly 87 and with pretty bad dementia, started refusing food and drink after the umpteenth urinary tract infection - very common in dementia, esp. when incontinence becomes an issue. It was not considered in her best interests to send her to hospital to be poked about by strangers - very distressing in any case for someone with dementia - and rehydrated with drips, when the whole thing was only going to happen again. The family were consulted. I sat with her a lot on and off. The care home was very good and staff continued to offer food and drink but it was quite clear that she didn't want any of it. She was sleeping most of the time and drifted away very peacefully after 5 or 6 days. She did not appear to be in any discomfort.

I think she had simply had enough and I'm glad she wasn't forced to continue a pretty pitiful existence with medical intervention. But technically I guess it could be said that she had died of dehydration.

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It is not uncommon for people in later stage dementia to start refusing food and drink. In such cases the only remedy is hospital and drips - and people with dementia are apt to pull out drips because they can't remember what they are for, or that they should leave them alone.

An aunt of mine, nearly 87 and with pretty bad dementia, started refusing food and drink after the umpteenth urinary tract infection - very common in dementia, esp. when incontinence becomes an issue. It was not considered in her best interests to send her to hospital to be poked about by strangers - very distressing in any case for someone with dementia - and rehydrated with drips, when the whole thing was only going to happen again. The family were consulted. I sat with her a lot on and off. The care home was very good and staff continued to offer food and drink but it was quite clear that she didn't want any of it. She was sleeping most of the time and drifted away very peacefully after 5 or 6 days. She did not appear to be in any discomfort.

I think she had simply had enough and I'm glad she wasn't forced to continue a pretty pitiful existence with medical intervention. But technically I guess it could be said that she had died of dehydration.

Virtually the same thing happened with my gran, who was extremely well looked after in Sweden.

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My Grandfather avoided this fate by living conveniently near a pub! :huh:

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It is not uncommon for people in later stage dementia to start refusing food and drink. In such cases the only remedy is hospital and drips - and people with dementia are apt to pull out drips because they can't remember what they are for, or that they should leave them alone.

An aunt of mine, nearly 87 and with pretty bad dementia, started refusing food and drink after the umpteenth urinary tract infection - very common in dementia, esp. when incontinence becomes an issue. It was not considered in her best interests to send her to hospital to be poked about by strangers - very distressing in any case for someone with dementia - and rehydrated with drips, when the whole thing was only going to happen again. The family were consulted. I sat with her a lot on and off. The care home was very good and staff continued to offer food and drink but it was quite clear that she didn't want any of it. She was sleeping most of the time and drifted away very peacefully after 5 or 6 days. She did not appear to be in any discomfort.

I think she had simply had enough and I'm glad she wasn't forced to continue a pretty pitiful existence with medical intervention. But technically I guess it could be said that she had died of dehydration.

Ah, makes sense with the back story behind the shocking headline.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_Care_Pathway_for_the_Dying_Patient

The Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - which received £81,000 in 2010 for meeting targets relating to the LCP - said the proportion of patients whose deaths were expected and had been placed on the pathway more than doubled to 87.7% from 2011 to 2012

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Isn't the principle behind that pathway that you get to die with dignity rather than thirst?

I did actually assume "Commenting on the new sedation-and-dehydration regimes" that the thirst was part of it.

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There is a difference between a person refusing to eat at the very end of their life and someone who wants to eat but is not given the assistance they need to eat or wants a drink but the glass of water is out of their reach and they have no way of asking for it or getting up to get it for themselves. ;)

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Hospitals and care homes seem to be being increasingly staffed with people who can barely talk to the patients and have even less common ground to identify themselves with the people they are caring for. Plus they are paid a crap wage.

And people seem to be shocked by the fact that they don't give a stuff.

There is of course a price to be paid by screwing the youth of the country.

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There is a difference between a person refusing to eat at the very end of their life and someone who wants to eat but is not given the assistance they need to eat or wants a drink but the glass of water is out of their reach and they have no way of asking for it or getting up to get it for themselves. ;)

True, and there is no excuse for this sort of wanton neglect.

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Hospitals and care homes seem to be being increasingly staffed with people who can barely talk to the patients and have even less common ground to identify themselves with the people they are caring for. Plus they are paid a crap wage.

And people seem to be shocked by the fact that they don't give a stuff.

There is of course a price to be paid by screwing the youth of the country.

Over the years we have been acquainted with a number of care homes and have had no complaints. I have often known the staff to be exceptionally kind. I know there are some lousy ones but it is a mistake to knock them all.

As for hospitals, I dare say we were lucky, but when my mother went in at 91 or 2 (I lose track) with a broken hip and pretty bad dementia, I was extremely worried. However the staff were very good with her despite a fair bit of stroppy behaviour.

She was telling the staff on and off that she was going to tell her father of them, and he'd have them all put in prison. At one point one of the nurses replied very matter-of-factly, 'Well, I've just spoken to your father and he says you've got to eat your lunch.' :P

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There is a difference between a person refusing to eat at the very end of their life and someone who wants to eat but is not given the assistance they need to eat or wants a drink but the glass of water is out of their reach and they have no way of asking for it or getting up to get it for themselves. ;)

Sure, but can the figures distinguish between the two? You'd have the same difficulty with hospital care. And Gawd knows what happens at home.

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My mother would die if she was given water instead of wine.

She probably met my grandad then! :huh:

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This is why I'm quite happy to carry on smoking 40 a day and die of lung cancer after a short illness when I'm 67. ;)

Harry! I'm with you on that! I don't want to have some minimum wage foreign person wipe my bottom, because I can't do it any more, and I suspect they wouldn't be bothered too, and I would expire in my own excrement! Before the PFI company went bust! :blink:

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This is why I'm quite happy to carry on smoking 40 a day and die of lung cancer after a short illness when I'm 67. ;)

Well it's nice of you to voluntarily pay all those taxes and curtail your own pension payments, but I wouldn't choose lung cancer as a way to go! It's horrible. Rather a massive heart attack in my sleep than coughing myself to death over a period of months.

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Well it's nice of you to voluntarily pay all those taxes and curtail your own pension payments, but I wouldn't choose lung cancer as a way to go! It's horrible. Rather a massive heart attack in my sleep than coughing myself to death over a period of months.

I agree with the sentiment, and like to think that I would choose a similar way to go. I wonder how we would cope when we find ourselves in the situation.

Not many of us would do a Captain Oates I warrant. "I am just going outside and may be some time."

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